Cop 3 Address aJir GluiItoW;. ftu ^'ynetV^ STEPHEN Bo WEEKS CLASS OF 1886; PHD THE JOH^B HOPKINS UNIVERSITY TiE WEEKS COLILECTKDN ©F AN ADDRESS. DELIVERED OCT 15th, 1892. Profkssor E. a. alderman, A!" THE Guilford Battel Ground, On the occasion of the Dedication of the Monument to the Maryland Soldiers. Pub lis lie d by tJie Guilford Battle Ground Company, January 20ih, i8gj. GREENSBORO, N. C: C. F. Thom.a.s, Book and Job Pkintkii 189:^. AN ADDRESS. DELIVERED OCT. lf)TH. 1892. Professor E. A. ALDERMAN, Glui-Ford B.attle Ground, On the occasion of tlie Dedication of the Monument to the Maryland Soldiers. Publislied by the Guilford Battle (ri-oiind Conipaiix January 20tJi, iSgj;. GREENSBORO, N. C: C. F. Thom.\s, Book and Job Printer. 1893. Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive in 2010 witii funding from University of Nortii Carolina at Chapel Hill http://www.archive.org/details/addressdeliveredOOalde Ladies and Gentlemen : Tlierc are few periods of heroic greatness in any nation's life. Nations, like men, for the most part spend their days learning the arts of peace and gathering treasures which devitalize, and corrupt and weaken. Now and then, in human history, God sends times of thunder and storm to teach men truth of word, strength of thought and unselfishness of life. There have been two such periods in the life of this young continent — the War of the Revolution and the Civil War — and forth from each have proceeded the highest sanctities of life, and the noblest strains of manhood. Let it not be understood that we here seek to glorify war or to cultivate the purely military spirit. God forbid that this sweet autumn land- scape, bathed in utter restfulness and peace, and touched on grass and leaf and bough with the pathetic eloquence of death, should ever again be the scene of onset and battle and blood. Our purpose is not to apotheosize war and strife, but to commemorate that surpassing love which teaches men to die in defense of some great cause, and to celebrate the great works which " God did in the days of the fathers and in the old time before them." The most thrilling incident in human history, to me, is that pathetic inscription on the Grecian battle defile written by Simonides, now trite with reverent use: " Go, stranger, and to Lacedasmon tell, That here, obeying her behests, we fell. " There is here no word of self, no word about the glory of battle or the stern joy which warriors feel. Sparta simply said, " Go, and if need be die." And they went and happily died. After the lapse of three thousand years those simple words have power to quicken my pulse a:Kl stir m)- blood, h'or generations the}' influenced Grecian action and educated Grecian character. The Greek bo\' conned them for his morning lesson and the Greek girl sang them to the music of the h-re and cithera and harp and wh.en the}- were forgotten that beautiful race had become a breed of charlatans, hirelings and slaves. High memories and past deeds greatly influence national character. The New Englander shall never stand unmoxed b}- Pl\-mouth Rock while the sea washes its base, nor by that other simple spot v\'here "By the rude bridf^e that arched the flood Their flag to April's breeze unfurled, Once the embattled farmers stood And tired the shot heard 'round the world." The Marx'lander and the North Carolinian should never stand unmoved on this ground consecrated by the valor, the constancy and the shedding of the blood of their forefathers. It was their part in an age of isolation and hardship to dare to die that they and we might taste the new and sweet experience of human freedom. It is our part, in piping times, amid splendid prosperity, and in a memorial age, to set a votive stone and by our thoughtfulness and care to re-create the dim past of their achievement, and to make it palpable and sunlit with filial reverence and recollection. We are met upon a great battle field of the American Revolution — the scene of the only pitched battle betvv^een the regular armies fought on the soil of North Carolina. Time was when the tangled thickets of a century shut it from the eyes of those who sought it, but the unwearying love and patriotic zeal of one North Carolinian has res- 5 cued it from the common ]andr,cape and restored to us, of another generation, its impressive outlines. Such unsordid and unselfish persistence towards some general good, such a manifestation of local pride and love of State can never be praised overmuch, and especially in this age of swaggering prosperity do we need to remember our homespun past, and to cherish the abstract sentiment of patriotism. For love of one's country is a gracious, a potent, an in- definable thing. Scoundrels have worn it as a gar- ment and hypocrites as a mask. Like a mother's love, or the sunset's glory, it defies statement and analysis ; yet our hearts teach us that it is a high passion of humanity and a definite influence in shaping national character. Somehow or other, the brave Switzer breathes it in his tonic air and his mountain tops have become citadels of liberty. The impassive Dutchman feels it in his sturdy blood and invites the enveloping sea to protect him from his enemies. It has nerved the arm of the English sailor and made it mightier on every sea. Amid the darkest hours of the Revolution when to the eye of flesh, blinded by despair, there seemed no way to peace and honor, it revealed to the eye of hope and yearning the straight and shining path of liberty and autonomy, crowded with the throng- ing future, and clamorous with the shoutings of a grate- ful posterity. And when these Southern States in thrill- ing revolution made their marvellous stand for the right as they saw the right, we all know how in mansion and in hovel, in town and country, over high and lov/ and young and old this holy emotion reigned like a king, nerving, urging — aye — deluding us up to the last bitter overwhelming moment. He who knows not this passion for country — this noble rage for fatherland — whether in the stress of battle or in civic conflict, may not hope to walk on the higher ranges of life and thought, but must forever creep along its valleys. Guilford l^attle Ground is no obscure spot. The Declaration of Independence vas a mere paper-writing of splendid words until March, 1781. Nathaniel Greene and Southern soldiery by dint of achievement on this field translated it into a modern magna charta of splendid fact. Here Freedom reared her bold bright face above the smoke of seeming defeat, and here, on these hills, amid the ilashing of the guns, was born this new and splendid experiment of represen- tative democracy. The harried South and the struggling colonies took fresh heart when this deed was done, and none may picture what visions of blight and ruin filled the mind of Lord Cornwallis as he stood in yonder val- ley, O'Hara bleeding on the roadside, Stuart stark in death, Webster mortally stricken, over one third of his veteran soldiery lying dead on the field, and felt in his soul the mockery of his barren victory. If all this be not the mere language of rhetoric, why has there not gathered about this field some measure of the historic impressive- ness that enwraps Lexington and Yorktown ? We shall not seek long for an answer. No brave, high-spirited, assertive, sensitive people have ever been so careless of their past as the people of North Carolina and the South. In every civil and military commotion in the making of this nation we have borne a sturdy and fruitful part. But we have contented our- selves with action. Our statues have yet to rise, our records have yet to be written, our monuments have yet to be erected. " Thoughts, that great hearts once broke for. We breathe cheaply in the common air, The dust we trample heedlessly Once throbbed in saints and heroes rare." No citizen of North Carolina has ever been put into bronze or marble. The ardent Carolina boy, fired with the Homeric spirit of youth and seeking for his hero nat- urally among his kindred, can nowhere look into the chiselled features of a son of his State gathering loftier aspirations and majestic lessons of loyalty and human immortality. The eloquence of our orators is a far, faint echo. The wisdom and care and patience that builded our social order, welded its discordant and diverse elem.ents, and created a unique and forceful civilization, have become the property of the beggar and are at the mercy of the historical scribbler. This is not wisdom. Nay, more, it is a high form of folly in governments resting on popular love and popular care. The infancy of all States is their heroic era, their high statured age, when into "grander forms our m.ortal metal runs." Each age will have its creeds and its philosophies despising all that went before, and, in turn, to be despised by the next. Each age will have its political panaceas for all human ills and the ills will not be cured by them, and fresh theories will be twined until the end of time, but great actions live forever and wisdom will reverently treasure them up. Let no one fancy that we are here solely to honor the men who here dared to die "and leave their children free." In a high sense we cannot honor them. Each lies in his narrow house and history has lit it up forever with her everlasting lamp. These men wrought their own monument by the strength of great fortitude and great love, and it lies about us to-day — the goodly heritage of a free home : this patient, con- servatively — progressive old Commonwealth, lacking in forwardness, instant in daring ; not sudden and quick in quarrel, but upon occasion as unbending as steel and as furious as the storm — this birth-spot of yours and mine and of our fathers, lovable in its ver}- limitations, and clad from its hard-beset and struggling childhood in the brave garments of unfailing common-sense, and unfalter- ing manhood — this dear, odd, just, home-like, God-fear- ing native land, guiltless of boasting, fruitful in doing, stainless in honor, with, its tender constraining power to make of a man, once a North Carolinian, a North Caro- linian forever ! And so we are come, the old man in his weakness, the youth in his strength, and these young women in their uhite innocence, to honor ourselves and by the contemplation of duty and de\'otion gather strength that 7('/: ma}- perpetuate in peace and honor the noble edifice which the fathers created in w^ar and weak- ness. Republican citizenship, indeed, is a sort of unceasing civic warfare. The battle ro}'al is waging all along the line this very quadrennial summer. "The jewel of liberty will not remain supinely in the family of freedom," but like a glimpse of the Holy Grail is won and kept by striving, by vigilance, and by purity. No kings or Par- liaments now menace us across seas, but new forms of oppression and new shapes of danger have been born into civilization and above the uproar of these titantic agencies the voices of unrest and discontent are heard. The great republic, destined in the economy of God to teach the beauty of peace and the sacredness of the in- dividual, still stands in need of men. " Ah God ! for a man With a head, heart and hand Like the simple ones gone forever and forever by, Autocrat, democrat, aristocrat — what care I? A man who fears God and can not lie." In the name of the State of North Carolina and of the Guilford Battle Ground Company, whose representative I 9 am, I welcome to the State atid to this field tlie represen- tative of the Maryland Historical Society, and receive at his hands this new memorial stone which he and Vv-e to-day, in filial love and in just pride, in the presence of this goodly company and of the sweet face of nature, set to the eternal honor of an heroic ancestry. Our distin- guished guest has spoken with power and eloquence of the part played by Maryland and North Carolina in the Revolutionary struggle, and I shall not seek to follow after him. Let this much be said, however : It does not become a North Carolinian to speak of tardiness in mat- ters of monuments and memorials when Harvey, and Ashe, and Harnett, Badger Mangum, and Macon sleep in unmarked graves, but one cannot resist an expression of surprise that the Monumental City should have waited one hundred and eleven years to mark the spot where her brave sons, led by Howard and Anderson, whose dust we trample, sprang like lions against the undaunted front of Stuart and his guards. The man whose patriotism does not glow brighter on the plains of Marathon and whose piety does not grow warmer amid the ruins of lona has become the subject of historic pity. Such pity may well be bestowed upon the Marylauder who does not stand bareheaded with a heart full of manly pride and exultation at Guilford Court House, at Hobkirk's Hill, at Cowpens — aye, at every Southern battle field from Camden to Eutaw. The first Maryland regiment was the heart and the hammer of the the Southern Army. What the Tenth Legion was to Caesar, the old Guard to Napoleon the Guards to Well- ington, this Maryland line was to Nathaniel Greene in every step of his God-directed flight from Carolina to the Dan. North Carolina, therefore, receives this granite boulder sacred to these men who shed their blood for freedom on her soil, with deep and reverent gratitude. 10 There is a story of the Eastern Greeks that pleases me well. Phidias, their \von(irous sculptor, had wronght from gold and iv^or}', a statue to 01}'mpian ?Ieus. Splendid in beaten gold and precious gem, sixty feet high, it uprose in the sky, a glory in the air. The beauty- loving Greeks enacted by law that the descendants of Phideas should forever guard it from harm or stain. Generation after generation did its duty and long years afterwards \\hen the Roman soldier climbed the hill he saw it standing, as of old, defectless and erect, glancing the sunlight from its burnished surface. Influences are at work to make of this spot the center of historic and patriotic interest in North Carolina. Each year some new stone is added. Here and there memorials arise, pathetic in their simplicity and cheapness, sublime in their purpose and motive. We pray that this work, thus begun, will be continued; that Virginia and Rhode Island and Delaware will remember their sons, that the National government, in the day of its power and youth, will re- member its creators, and that somewhere on this plane, broad-based and massive, there will arise a shapely column towards Vv'hich, in proud remembrance, the eyes of the men and the women of the twentieth century may turn in an}- hour of national disaster or despondency. Let yonder massive gtanite block, with its legend of " manly deeds and womanly words," stand forever a fresh and sympathetic bond of amity between the proud commonwealth that gives it and the proud commonwealth that receives it. Let it typify in its simple unhewn strength the stead- fastness and endurance of North Carolina w^hose sons fired the last shot on this neld, aud the unconquerable courage of Maryland, whose sons bore its deadliest brunt, and here plucked from encompassing ruin sub- stantial victory. Photomolint Pamphlet Binder Gaylord Bros. Makers Syracuse, N. Y. PAr. JAN 21, 1808 UNIVERSITY OF N C. AT CHAPEL HILL 00032691329 This book may be kept out one month unless a recall notice is sent to you. It must be brought to the North Carolina Collection (in Wilson Library) for renewal.